Spaulding Youth Center Honored with $40,000.00 Grant from van Otterloo Family Foundation for TBRI® Practitioner Training

March 27, 2018

Spaulding Youth Center is thrilled to announce it has been honored with a grant of $40,000.00 by the van Otterloo Family Foundation to implement Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) as a key programming component at Spaulding Youth Center. The grant will support the initial costs for two clinical staff members to complete TBRI® Practitioner Training. Once training is completed, they will become TBRI® practitioners and educators who will train all Spaulding Youth Center staff as well as be available to provide training to parents of Spaulding children and the foster parents licensed by Spaulding.

Designed and presented by the Texas-based Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development, the TBRI® method of caregiving is a holistic, evidence-based, trauma-informed intervention that is specifically designed for children who come from hard places, such as maltreatment, abuse, neglect, multiple home placements, violence and other traumas.

The field of trauma informed care has grown rapidly over the past ten years and evidence-based research is leading to new best practices, especially when it comes to children and their education. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “in the brains of traumatized youth, neural pathways associated with fear and survival responses are strongly developed, leaving some children in a state of hyperarousal that causes them to overreact to incidents other children would find nonthreatening, the research shows. Consumed by fear, they find it difficult to achieve a state of calmness that would allow them to process verbal instructions and learn.” (

In recent years, the number of children coming to Spaulding Youth Center with traumatic histories has increased significantly. Spaulding is seeing greater numbers of very young children who have been severely affected by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). With a trauma informed approach, staff recognize and understand the signs of ACEs. They use anger and grief management and applied behavior analysis to help the child develop self-calming techniques. These approaches are far more conducive to healthy and productive learning and social interactions not just for the child, but for the other children in the classroom and residences as well. It also helps to build healthy attachments that the children and their families will be able to translate to all relationships in their lives so that they are not defined by their trauma.

With this generous support from the van Otterloo Family Foundation, Spaulding Youth Center will begin to incorporate trauma informed care into every level of the organization – from the classrooms to the dining hall to the residential cottages and including the playgrounds, community outings, and visits with families and caregivers. Using the TBRI® model, Spaulding will spread this knowledge and approach to every adult who comes in contact with the students building a comprehensive, consistent support network, ultimately contributing to the students’ success when they leave Spaulding.

“We are honored for the opportunity to enhance the best practices used in our learning and living environments for students and staff through the generous support from the van Otterloo Family Foundation,” said Susan C. Ryan, CEO & President of Spaulding Youth Center. “Through this grant, we are working towards incorporating TBRI® into all Spaulding programs, enhancing interactions with our children as well as increasing parents’ knowledge and skill in working with their children. This contribution will truly create significant and long-term positive outcomes not only for the children in our care but for so many families statewide and beyond who desperately need help overcoming intensely traumatic histories.”

The van Otterloo Foundation was established in 1997 with a mission to provide support for educational enterprises that demonstrate innovation and excellence in teaching and learning while placing emphasis on the potential of all individuals, target unmet educational needs or provide an exemplary educational program.

About Spaulding Youth Center

Spaulding Youth Center is a leading provider of services for children and youth with neurological, emotional, behavioral, learning and/or developmental challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. Services include academic, behavioral health, residential, foster care, health and wellness and family support. Spaulding Youth Center is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For information or to make a donation, please visit Spaulding Youth Center online at

Click here to download the official press release.


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